In 1949, while studying in the Pui Ching High School, I followed a teacher, Wu Chin Li, to take pictures at Yue Xiu Mountain. I also followed another teacher, Ho Chongbai, to New River Pu to do the same. I admired my teachers’ works so much that it drove me to imitate their styles and thus motivated my huge interest in photography. Later on, I took the assignment of shooting most of the pictures in my junior high school’s graduation album.


In my high school years, I often visited Hong Kong. In 1951, when I was waylaid there for a few months, waiting for my US entry approval, I learned about Francis Wu ’s photographic studio at the Gloucester House. The studio’s window often displayed selections of salon pieces, which widened my horizon. I also read the Chinese Art of Photography Monthly, edited by Francis Wu. This magazine often introduced the works of famous masters like Lang Jingshan, Xue Zijiang and Deng Xuefeng. It allowed me to have an in-depth understanding of the masterpieces of that era.


Before I set off to the distant land of America, I couldn’t assure myself that I would be able to make a return trip back home in my lifetime; therefore, my friends and relatives took me everywhere to take pictures for memory. Shatin is a photographer’s heaven. I photographed there on innumerable occasions and also shot pictures of the poor masses. Some of the photographic subjects were acquaintances of my friends and relatives. At that time, people of Hong Kong were generally living in dire poverty.


Some of the Hong Kong life photos were taken with flash light. In those days, a photographer often carried 3 flash bulbs on hand, loading up a flash bulb whenever necessary, then reloading a new bulb for the next shot.


Six decades have gone by. Yesterday’s wasteland of barren rocks has flourished in prosperity. I can hazily remember the approximate locations of my old photographic scenes. They are now all lined up with luxury condominiums towering over them. The friends and relatives who guided me everywhere for my photo tours have all departed. Every time I tread on my homeland soil, I can’t help feeling as if lost in merciless oceans and lonely fields.

 

-Richard Yee

Chinese name: Zhao Xianzao

 

 

Limited edition prints on 16x20 inch paper.

Hong Kong Remembered
 

On view fall 2020

Photographs by Richard Yee

01strollcuringsun1966_richardyee
02morningshatin1966_richardyee
03shatinhk1966_richardyee
04hongkongfoodshop1949_1950_richardyee
05meatstore1949_1950_richardyee
06povertyhk1949_1950_richardyee
07sickmotherhk_1950_1951_richardyee
08mongkok1951_richardyee
09hongkong1952_richardyee
10shixiawei1951_richardyee
11ferryhk1966_richardyee
12lukkeng1966_richardyee
13harvesthk_richardyee
14taipohk1950_richardyee
15deepfrieddoughsticks1950_richardyee
16aberdeenhk1949_1950_richardyee
17threekidshk1966_richardyee
18daysendhk1966_richardyee
19hongkong1966_richardyee
20noodledryingaberdeenhk1966_richardyee_6.40

Stroll, Curing Sun, 1966

Morning Shatin, 1966

Shatin, Hong Kong, 1966

Hong Kong Food Shop,

1949-1950

Noodle Drying, Aberdeen

Hong Kong, 1966, Edition 6/40

Meat Store, 1949-1950

Luk Keng, 1966

Harvest, Hong Kong, 1966

Aberdeen, Hong Kong,

1949-1950

Tai Po, Hong Kong, 1950

Day’s End, Hong Kong, 1966

Ferry, Hong Kong Night, 1966

Mongkok, 1951

Three Kids, Hong Kong, 1966

Deep Fried Dough Sticks, 1950

Sick Mother, Hong Kong

1950-1951

Hong Kong, 1966

Poverty, Hong Kong, 1949-1950

Hong Kong, 1952

Shi Xiawei, 1951

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+1 415 732 0300

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